NIA Refrains from Naming JeM Chief Due to Operational Reasons

Due to ‘operational reasons’, JeM Chief Masood Azhar was not named in NIA’s official statement.

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On Friday, the Pakistani Joint Investigation Team left India for Pakistan. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

On Friday, the Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) Sharad Kumar read out a carefully-worded statement to the media. Strangely, nowhere in the statement did Kumar mention the name of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar who is allegedly the mastermind of the Pathankot terror attack.

The NIA used the phrase ‘senior bearers of JeM’, instead of specifying the names of the persons involved. This despite the fact that the NIA claims to have concrete evidence against Azhar and other JeM handlers.

The NIA statement said:

NIA sought voice samples of some senior office bearers of JeM. NIA presented the JIT (Joint Investigation Team) with concrete evidence against the office bearers of JeM who conspired in the attack, and the handlers of the terrorists who facilitated and guided them.

According to the sources, due to ‘operational reasons’, the investigators are keeping Azhar’s name under the wraps.

We apprehend that if we mention names of JeM chief in our official statement, then it may affect the investigation in Pakistan. There are certain grey areas which cannot be disclosed to media either.
Senior Official, NIA

The Pakistan JIT left India for Pakistan on Friday. During their 6-day stay in India, the JIT visited the Pathankot Airbase, exchanged evidence with NIA, shared details of their investigation, and also examined 16 witnesses.

The Quint has learnt that the JIT examined SP Salvinder Singh and his friend, Rajeev Kumar, with special focus. The JIT was given access to all witnesses through NIA officials.The NIA have already upraised the JIT that they would like to examine 25 persons in Pakistan, including JeM Chief Azhar, JeM handlers, and the family members of slain terrorists.

According to sources, the Pakistan JIT was happy with the cooperation shown by the NIA, especially with the access granted to the scene of crime in the Pathankot airbase, which was much appreciated.

We shared all evidence relevant to the investigation with JIT, so that it can help them in prosecuting the perpetrators. We cooperated with Pakistan and hope for similar cooperation.
Senior Official, NIA

The NIA is likely to visit Pakistan in one month. The Pakistan JIT was informed that a team of NIA officials would like to visit Pakistan to carry forward the investigation into the Pathankot attack.

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